Pernel Media “Rise of Birds - Dinosaurs among us" special flies internationally

ZDF Studios in charge of global distribution

Paris/Mainz, January 24th, 2024

Paris and London based production company Pernel Media has closed a series of co-production and pre-sales deals on its science feature-length documentary 'Rise of Birds - Dinosaurs among us'.

Commissioned by France Télévisions for the weekly primetime slot “Science Grand Format” it has been co produced by PBS GBH’s NOVA and CCTV9 in China and pre bought by Ushuaïa TV in France, Radio Canada and NHK Enterprise in Japan. ZDF Studios has the remaining world rights and will be in charge of the global distribution. Consequently, several formats are being produced, a 90’, a 100’ and a 52’ in six different languages.

‘Today’s birds are dinosaurs’ says Steve Brusatte, world renowned American dinosaur expert, “they’re every bit as much of a dinosaur as a T-Rex is!” 

‘Rise of Birds - Dinosaurs among us’ is a global investigation that reveals the latest discoveries on the evolution of dinosaurs into modern-day birds, who have rose to be one of the most diversified species on the planet and the undisputed masters of the skies.

Astonishing CGI brings back to life the extinct modern birds to illustrate the incredible evolution of birds over 200 million years, while taking the viewer on a journey through different geological eras, on the ground, in the water, and in the air.

At NOVA we love to tell the stories of scientific discovery that reveal the deep continuity of all life on Earth, as this film does so beautifully,” says NOVA Co-Executive Producer Chris Schmidt. “How lucky we are, every time we look at a bird, to be reminded that dinosaurs are still among us!

Ralf Rückauer, VP Unscripted at ZDF Studios, adds: ”We are delighted to be working again with our long-standing partner Pernel Media. After three seasons of 'Ancient Superstructures' and ten episodes of 'Mega Building Collection', with this new title we are excited to soon have another exciting documentary from this highly talented team in our catalogue.”

Céline Payot Lehmann, Executive Producer at Pernel Media says “Who knew that pigeons and chickens descended from the same branch as the infamous T-Rex? Dinosaurs are not extinct, they are all around us. That’s how relevant and universal this story is.”

The documentary is written by Eric Pincas and Thomas Cirotteau, directed by Thomas Cirotteau (“Lady Sapiens”, “After the Asteroid”…) and produced by Céline Payot Lehmann and Samuel Kissous.


About Pernel Media

Pernel Media is a creative and diverse independent TV production company founded by Samuel Kissous in 2009. Headquartered in Paris and incorporated in the UK as Pernel Media Ltd, the business creates and produces original factual and entertainment formats for the global content market.

Original Pernel Media productions for both French and international broadcasters include ‘Rise and fall of the Maya’, co produced with RMCD, National Geographic, Histoire TV, ZDFI, ZDF Studios, TV5 Quebec, ‘After the Asteroid’ for France 5, Ushuaia TV and NHK,  ‘Ancient Superstructures’ for RMC Découverte, Histoire TV, SBS and ZDF Studios and ‘Secrets of the Pyramid Builders’, a co production between Canal + channels and Smithsonian Channel.

Pernel Media has created original programmes across a wide range of genres including factual entertainment, game shows, entertainment, specialist factual and scripted for French, US and UK broadcasters.

Pernel Media are also experts in collaborating with producers and distributors from around the world, adapting international formats for the French broadcast market. Successful format adaptations include ‘Wheeler Dealers France’ for RMC Decouverte, ‘Great British Menu’ for TF1, ‘Dinner Date’ for Direct 8, ‘Most Identical’ for M6.

In 2019, the company launched a drama division with the coproduction of new English-language short film ‘3 Sleeps’.

Press contact: - +33 6 62540205


About ZDF Studios
ZDF Studios is a commercial subsidiary of ZDF, one of the largest TV broadcasters in Europe. Founded in 1993 and headquartered in Mainz, Germany, the ZDF Studios Group operates more than 30 direct and indirect subsidiaries and affiliates in Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom spanning TV production, distribution and services. The parent company, ZDF Studios, is responsible for global programme distribution, realisation of international co-productions, acquisition of licences and merchandising of successful programme brands under its own name, for ZDF and third parties. ZDF Studios has the largest German-language programme inventory in the world and a constantly growing range of international productions, consisting of series and mini-series, television films, documentaries and children's programmes.

The companies of the ZDF Studios Group cover the entire value chain from the development of scripted and unscripted TV content to production, marketing and monetizing, including TV and streaming licences as well as merchandising and online rights. The positioning of ZDF Studios as an integrated media company enables the development of innovative, outstanding and high-quality programmes and makes the Group an attractive workplace for German and international talent to flourish in a very inspiring and creative environment.

Contact ZDF Studios
Christine Denilauler (VP Marketing and Corporate Communications), ZDF Studios GmbH, Erich-Dombrowski-Str. 1, 55127 Mainz/Germany, Tel.: +49 6131-9911130, E-mail:,